Rome

Ex-publisher Angelo Rizzoli arrested for bankruptcy fraud

Investigators probing '30-million-euro scam'

Ex-publisher Angelo Rizzoli arrested for bankruptcy fraud

Rome, February 14 - Former chairman of the Rizzoli publishing empire (RCS), Angelo Rizzoli, was arrested on Thursday in Rome for alleged fraudulent bankruptcy involving his company Audiovisual Tiber (previously Rizzoli Audiovisual) of which he was the sole director. The ailing, 70-year-old entrepreneur and producer is accused of a financial fraud worth some 30 million euros that he allegedly ran through his four subsidiary production companies, say Rome's tax police. Angelo Rizzoli is the third generation of the historic and troubled Rizzoli publishing family that was founded by his grandfather in 1927. In 1974, Italy's biggest-selling daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera, was purchased by his family-controlled publishing group and Angelo, known as 'Angelone' to distinguish him from his grandfather, took over at the helm with other family members in 1978. Together with his brother Alberto and the paper's managing director Bruno Tassan Din, he was implicated in a scandal involving the P2 (Propaganda Due) masonic lodge and was arrested for fraudulent bankruptcy in 1983. They were eventually cleared of the charges, but the Rizzoli publishing group that controlled Corriere passed out of family hands in 1984. Following Thursday's arrest, companies and real estate assets worth some seven million euros were seized and two of Rizzoli's homes were searched. Investigators also included Rizzoli's wife, Melania De Nichilo, in probes. Melania De Nichilo is an MP in center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party. Stefania Prestigiacomo, a minister in the previous government of Berlusconi, alleged political motivations behind the actions, with the arrest and probes coming just 10 days ahead of national elections. Rizzoli was transferred to Rome's Sandro Pertini hospital after he was deemed physically unfit for prison due to multiple health problems. On Monday, he will be questioned by investigators.

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